Misleading Requests for Payment
Warning against - partially misleading - offers, requests for payment and invoices relating to IP applications and renewal of IP rights
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) warns against – partially misleading – offers, requests for payment and invoices relating to IP applications and renewal of IP rights from private companies unrelated to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The DPMA does not send any invoices or requests for payment for the application or renewal of IP rights.
These companies offer services against payment including the publication or registration of IP rights in non-official registers or the renewal of IP rights at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Often, such letters cannot be identified as offers at first sight – in many cases, this becomes only obvious by carefully reading the small print or the terms and conditions that are sometimes printed on the back. You should therefore always carefully read communications containing requests for payment.
Such approaches per se do not have any legal effect; they do not create any obligation to pay the issuer.
IP rights can only be obtained by filing an application with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or with another IP authority. Their renewal is only possible by timely paying of the corresponding renewal fee to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or another IP authority.
Official fees charged in connection with an IP right in the procedure before the German Patent and Trade Mark Office must be paid exclusively to the account indicated by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The fees are listed in the information leaflet concerning costs, fees and expenses.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office will not charge any additional fees for the publication of an IP right in the official Register.
In particular, letters from the following companies not commissioned by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office were last brought to our attention. We do not know whether these companies are still active. Companies previously reported to us are listed in our archive.
- European Central Register of Brands and Patents
- INDAB - Internationale Datenbank für registrierte Trademarks ( www.indab.org)
- PMR-Service GmbH - Patent- und Markenregister (Internetadresse: www.pmr-serv.com) *NEW
- Register der deutschen Marken (www.schutzmarke.org)
- Register des gewerblichen Eigentums (www.deutsche-erfindungen.org)
If you receive requests for payment, offers or invoices relating to your IP right pending at the DPMA from companies where you doubt the legitimacy of the request for payment and which are not included in the list above, please send an e-mail to the Customer Care and Services of the DPMA with an example attached.
Holders of international registrations who received a communication can contact WIPO directly to find out if the communication received is indeed an official communication by WIPO.
- For this purpose, please call the International Bureau (phone: +41 22 338-9111) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In addition, you may contact the Legal Division of the Madrid Union with respect to any query concerning this and any other legal issue: email@example.com.
Likewise, other IP offices have issued warnings on their websites concerning – partially misleading – offers, requests for payment and invoices from companies unrelated to them:
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO),
- European Patent Office (EPO) and
- numerous national IP offices such as the
The German Protective Association against Economic Crime (Deutscher Schutzverband gegen Wirtschaftskriminalität – DSW) as well as numerous chambers of commerce and industry provide comprehensive information about the practice described on this page, also known as scam.
Last updated: 23/03/18